AARP recently named Charmaine Fuller Cooper as the next State Director in its South Carolina office, following a national search.
Fuller Cooper holds a bachelor’s in political science from NC Central University and a master’s in public administration from NC State University. She has worked at AARP for nine years, most recently as Campaigns Field Manager, providing guidance and support for lobbying and advocacy tactics to nine state offices. Prior to that, she was the Advocacy Director for the North Carolina state office, leading their lobbying efforts.
In this new role, Fuller Cooper will lead AARP South Carolina’s staff and volunteer team in setting priorities and executing programs and lobbying tactics that contribute to health security, financial security and personal fulfillment for the 50+ community in South Carolina.
“This role is an opportunity to advocate even harder for 50+ communities and their families. I plan to connect with our audiences in metro and rural communities to get a sense of what their priorities are and to see how we can take innovative approaches to advocate for them,” Fuller Cooper says.
She appreciates that AARP’s roots begin in advocacy, with founder Ethel Percy Andrus building the organization on the belief that everyone needs financial and health security.
Fuller Cooper says, “I want to bolster our advocacy, outreach, and communications efforts in ways that really move the needle on things that matter to the 50+ in our state. We are already fighting for affordable and accessible utilities, access to high-speed internet across South Carolina, and equitable and high-quality healthcare options. Still, we know there is more to be done. We will prioritize where we need to play a bigger role.”
With a strong background in campaign strategy and management, government relations, and rural, multicultural and conservative advocacy; Fuller Cooper is no stranger to public service. She served as Executive Director of the North Carolina Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation. Her leadership elevated the voice of victims to an international audience ultimately resulting in $10 million in compensation for living victims.
Fuller Cooper says, “Everything I have done has always been about advocating for others and shining a light on the lived experiences of everyday people. I know that those stories are powerful in demonstrating the need for policy change.”
In addition to her service at the North Carolina Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation, Fuller Cooper has championed criminal justice reforms, led outreach for the American Heart Association and served on the Care 4 Carolina health care access coalition. Her professional experience at these organizations opened her eyes to the needs of the aging community in the state.
While AARP focuses on the 50+, Fuller Cooper wants the public to know about AARP as an organization is that they advocate for all. You can benefit from their efforts before you reach the age of 50 through partnerships like the one AARP has with the Better Business Bureau. The organizations collaborate to provide the public with free document shredding events that help consumers safely destroy personal documents and campaigns to educate them on recent frauds, scams, and how to protect their information.
If you’re interested in joining AARP’s efforts to advocate for the 50+ community in South Carolina, there are many ways to volunteer your time and service. AARP South Carolina has over 200 volunteers, which Fuller Cooper considers the organization’s greatest resource.
From event assistance to educational events, virtual and in-person classes and parties and much more; there’s a volunteer position for all at AARP. Visit their website for more information on how to get involved.
“If anyone is ever interested in volunteering at AARP, we want to hear from you,” Fuller Cooper says. “Our efforts are led by volunteers and members. Working in the trenches with volunteer teams from every walk of life and experience has been one of the most rewarding parts of my time with AARP and I am excited to continue that work here in South Carolina.”